History Textbooks

I have recently spent quite a bit of time thinking about History textbooks and how they are written. My thinking hasn’t fully crystallised yet but I want to share the articles that I have read so far. As I continue my journey in the textbook world, I will write more here.

  • An American description about what should be taken into account when selecting a History textbook.  They highlight three areas: Factual Coverage, Historical Thinking and Review, Evaluation and Supplementary Materials.
    “Prior to publication, history textbooks should be reviewed and evaluated by research historians and active teachers. In other words, the composition of textbooks should involve the participation of leading scholars and of the teachers, community college instructors, and public historians who will most likely assign and rely on these textbooks. Once adopted, textbooks should be regularly evaluated, revised and updated for their effectiveness.”
  • An article by the Christian Science Monitor: “History textbooks in crosshairs of Australia’s curriculum wars. Conservative politicians in Australia have ordered a review of a new national curriculum they say imposes political correctness on shared historical events, such as the battle for Gallipoli.” https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2014/0405/History-textbooks-in-crosshairs-of-Australia-s-curriculum-wars
  • What History Textbooks Leave Out: “A Japanese casestudy about Genocide, Mass Violence and The Nanjing Atrocities: The teaching of Japan’s war history, specifically the story of the Nanjing Atrocities and the institution of military sexual slavery during World War II, continues to be a source of controversy within Japan and between Japan and nations it occupied during the war. In 2013 BBC reporter Oi Mariko reflected upon her own childhood education in Japan in the article “What Japanese History Lessons Leave Out”: https://www.facinghistory.org/nanjing-atrocities/judgment-memory-legacy/what-history-textbooks-leave-out
  • I’d like to look through these old textbooks: http://fusion.deakin.edu.au/collections/show/19
  • Why national narratives are perpetuated: A literature review on new insights from history textbook research: https://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/ioep/clre/2017/00000015/00000002/art00011# Abstract: National narratives have often served to mobilize the masses for war by providing myths and distorted interpretations of the past, while conversely wars were major sources for producing national narratives. Because national history is very likely to remain a central topic in history education, albeit in ways that differ from how the topic was used fifty years ago, it is important to gain a greater understanding of the underlying structures and mechanisms of these narratives in history textbooks. After outlining the historical interconnectedness of the emerging nation states and history teaching, this review article explains the complexity of the history textbook as an educational resource. Next, we identify some current problems and challenges in history textbook research. We continue by discussing promising research trends related mainly to national narratives, such as the analysis of images, the use of digital tools, and studies of the autonomy of textbook narratives and of history textbooks in relation to other media. Another recent reorientation is textbook research that uses a holistic approach. By this we mean studies that examine the history textbook as a whole: composition, periodization, visual intertextuality and chapters that do not at first glance appear to focus on national history. These studies offer new insights and explanations for the perpetuation of national narratives in history textbooks
  • The Racism of History Textbooks: https://daily.jstor.org/racism-history-textbooks/ An American Article: “How history textbooks reinforced narratives of racism, and the fight to change those books from the 1940s to the present.”
  • And of course I must read this book: https://www.amazon.com/Learn-History-When-Already-Phone/dp/022635721X  Why Learn History (When It’s Already on Your Phone)  by Sam Wineburg.